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Jury rejects insanity defense for man convicted of Pelham wedding shooting

The scene of the October 2019 shooting at the New England Pentecostal Ministries.
Michael Brindley
/
NHPR
The scene of the October 2019 shooting at the New England Pentecostal Ministries.

A jury on Thursday rejected an insanity defense for a man convicted of shooting and wounding a bishop and assaulting the bride and groom at a church wedding ceremony in New Hampshire.

Dale Holloway, 41, who acted as his own attorney, had pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from the October 2019 shootings. He said he was mentally unstable at the time.

"I've been insane before this even happened," Holloway told the jury.

The shootings happened nearly two weeks after Holloway's stepfather, a pastor at the church, was killed by the son of the groom. The son was later sentenced to prison. A separate celebration of life ceremony for the pastor had been planned at the church for later that day.

The jury in Nashua had already found Holloway guilty on Tuesday of one of two attempted murder charges and several assault charges. After deliberating for about an hour Thursday, the foreperson answered "no" when asked if the panel had found clear and convincing evidence that he was insane at the time the crimes were committed. The trial lasted nine days.

Holloway could face up to life in prison on the attempted murder conviction when he is sentenced.

Holloway tried to present evidence that he had a mental health condition at that time. He played some of his own rap to the jury to explain his state of mind. He also presented testimony from psychologists who said they believed he was experiencing mental health issues. But they also said they thought he tended to exaggerate his symptoms.

Holloway's mother testified, too, answering questions about how his father was physically abusive and that she got a divorce. She also answered questions about how Holloway entered juvenile detention facilities at an early age. She testified that she thought Holloway seemed worried about people coming to the house and was withdrawn after his stepfather, whom he loved, was killed. She told investigators that Holloway seemed fine until then.

The wedding was being held right before the memorial service, which Holloway saw as a sign of disrespect, prosecutor John Harding III said.

"He's angry. He's upset. He wants revenge. So he gets a loaded firearm" and gets a ride to the church, Harding said.

Stanley Choate, the bishop, was shot in the chest at the New England Pentecostal Ministries in Pelham. The bride, Claire McMullen, was shot in the arm. Both have since recovered.

Holloway was convicted of attempted murder in shooting Choate; two counts of second-degree assault in causing bodily injury to Choate and McMullen; simple assault for striking the groom, Mark Castiglione, on the head; and several other charges. The jury acquitted Holloway of an attempted murder charge in the shooting of McMullen.

Authorities said Castiglione is the father of a man convicted of killing Holloway's stepfather.

Brandon Castiglione was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 42 years in prison earlier this year for fatally shooting Holloway's stepfather, Luis Garcia, inside his home. Garcia was a pastor at the church. There was no clear motive for that shooting.

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